- We have started our own build. Can we use what we have so far?
- This will normally result in a longer and more expensive build because of the work involved in making your code compatible with ours. However, branding and user interface design work can contribute to our process, and as such should be shared with us as soon as possible.
- Your system seems complex and well developed. Is it possible for us to launch something simple in the early days?
- The complexity of our system comes from our experience of operating a business in the industry. It helps us by automating time-consuming tasks like calculating interest payments for hundreds of borrowers. Opting for a scalable solution is likely to incur more costs, as it will require ongoing work and support from us.
- Can you make our platform like another platform I saw?
- Please take a look at our demo videos and the case studies on our site for more examples of the type of platforms we can create. It is likely that our offering can be configured to work in a similar way to the platform you’ve seen, just let us know which platform it is you like, and how yours will differ.
- Can you get our platform ready in time for a particular event?
- Our project timelines are relative to the confirmation of the order and payment of the deposit. The delivery is fast-paced and efficient, typically taking 10-12 weeks. We’re keen to support your launch any way we can, but it’s important to us that what we deliver is of high quality and ready for use. If you don’t think we will get it ready in time, let’s talk about what we can deliver in your required timeframe.
- What is the project tool?
- The project tool is a web-based tool we use to organise, communicate and collaborate on the work we do. It is also where support documentation will be provided for your platform. As well as allowing you to get involved in our project process, it gives you full visibility on the work being done. Our project tool is based on the open source Redmine application.
- Can we manage the project ourselves but use your team?
Can we use our own project management tool?
- The short answer is no. Our experience and our communication and collaboration systems allow us to work much more efficiently by taking day-to-day responsibility for delivery ourselves. The project plan details the stages at which you will be involved.
- Do you provide design?
Can I use my own graphic designer?
- You are free to work with your own designer, and most clients do for their logo and branding. We do have a graphic designer who can collaborate with you, should you wish.
- Can I use my own designer/UXer?
- Yes, your designer will be able to collaborate with us via our online project management tool. They will be contracted directly to you and you will be responsible for their work.
- How much IT knowledge do I need?
- Very little. Under a SaaS agreement, we function as your web/R&D department. The platform is easy to use on the admin side, and your monthly support agreement will enable you to call on our expert technical support for you or your users. Training and reference material will also be provided.
- Can I have an exclusive licence?
Will you agree to not work with any of my competitors?
- Different markets offer great potential for crowdfunding models. We don’t generally enter into exclusivity agreements, as it would prevent us from taking opportunities ourselves and potentially lead to our competitors taking them. Peer-to-peer and crowdfunded models can be applied to all sorts of unique financial challenges, as well as to the mass market. The development of the market will bring about a lot of innovation and diversification; we are just seeing the beginnings of this process here in the UK and do not want to restrict the companies we can work with. That said, we may be able to arrange a limited period of exclusivity for your target market, subject to certain conditions, to be discussed internally.
- What happens if WLCF goes bust?
- If we go bust, we pass the source code to you. The data/site is hosted with bytmark and while operating normally, we pay a maintenance fee to them to host the site. If we go bust, the site will continue as normal; you would just pay the monthly fee to them. Naturally, the site maintenance and support would need to be offered by another provider.
- What (coding) language are your sites written in?
What kind of server do they run on?
- The platforms run on a LAMP configuration, which stands for Linux (operating system), Apache (web server), MySQL (database) and PHP (the coding language for the software).
- What role does WordPress play?
- WordPress is an open-source solution for managing websites. It powers the content area of the website, as well as providing the framework in which our proprietary software operates.
- Why did you choose to work with WordPress?
- There are three important reasons we chose to work with WordPress. Firstly, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with basic web platform functionality, like user management and content management. WordPress does these very well, in a way that is easy to extend and customise. Secondly, WordPress core is a well maintained, open source project, with an active community of developers. This means that it suffers from few problems and is built to a high standard. When there is a problem, patches are released quickly. Finally, digital marketing is a crucial part of the growth and success of our platforms, and WordPress is the preferred tool for digital marketers.
- What payment services have you integrated with?
Does the site take credit/debit card transactions?
- We have successfully integrated with GoCardless, a direct debit gateway in the UK, MangoPay and SynapsePay. As part of your setup project, we will integrate with any payment gateways you require, from debit card to Bitcoin. We will need you to create your accounts with each service, and ensure that a suitable API and relevant documentation are provided.
- Can you connect directly to a bank account?
- As with other integrations, you must source a licence and suitable API from the bank. In the UK, banks have been reluctant to open these up to external developers. There is a community working to change this – please check out https://openbankproject.com/en/.
- Can you link to external data providers for risk assessment and AML needs?
- Yes. You must obtain a suitable licence and API for us to work with. We have already built certain integrations.
- Is the technology compliant with my local law?
Does it have any specific certifications?
- You must take full responsibility for compliance with local law and regulation. We expect to carry out some configuration or customisation work to support you in this, but you will need to brief us clearly with these requirements. In terms of obtaining certificates, in most cases this is a matter of getting the documentation together, as our solution will most likely be already compliant.
- Can we add custom functionality?
- We expect to add an amount of custom functionality to each white label build, although it will not be necessary in all cases. The modular nature of our platform means that new features can be added by us, by you, or by using a wide variety of third-party plugins.
- Is the site backed up?
In the event of a disaster, how quickly can the site be restored?
- Backups are made to external storage three times a day. In the event of a major problem, partner sites can typically be restored within four hours during normal UK office hours.
- What is your outage record?
- We don’t track outages on rebuildingsociety.com as we would need to define an outage as part of an SLA, which would be more normal for a third-party organisation. One of our clients has such a provision in their agreement; their current uptime is 99.91%, with two instances of unscheduled downtime.
- We are looking at an alternative supplier who is able to offer us an attractive deal.
Yours is our preferred solution but we are also considering a lower cost option.
There is a tax incentive/grant available for buying locally/building our own team development.
- Given how core the platform is to the business, it is important that you are confident that it is the right solution for you. You also need to be confident that you are working with the right people for a long-term collaboration that supports your growth. I personally wouldn’t allow an initial saving or incentive to cloud my judgement about such an important, long-term decision.